Book Haul | October 2016

Every month I spend all the money all the books.

This is what sent me broke this month:

1. Every Move You Make: Chilling True Stories of Stalkers and their Victims | Victoria Heywood
2. Deadly Games: Kids Who Kill Kids | Gabrielle O’Reilly and Liz Frame

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I have recently gone into this True Crime Binge that is creepy as f*** and there are so few people in my circle of friends that I can fangirl over this stuff with. But to quote the great T-Swizzle, “Haters gonna hate!” You only need one true crime true friend who really understands you to get through this.

3. The Last Beginning | Lauren James
4. Gemina | Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
5. Crooked Kingdom | Leigh Bardugo
6. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Illustrated edition) | JK Rowling
7. The Four Legendary Kingdoms | Matthew Reilly

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This was a month of sequels – ones that I have been highly anticipating!

The Last Beginning is part of The Next Together duology (I screamed when I found out this was a duology) and the first book made me so ridiculously happy. It’s not quite like anything else I have read before and it is about the reincarnations of these two people who are, for lack of a better term, soul mates.

GEMINA! Do I really need to talk about this? Surely you are just as excited as I when it comes to the Illuminae Files by these beautiful Australian authors. I will never not be proud that they are Australian and have written one of the most badass books (and I assume series) in the world. In case you have just abandoned your hermit life and the first thing you did was check out my blog then Illuminae is a story told in report style – about two people who escaped their destroyed planet and are now dealing with a plague aboard their spacecraft that is doing some real nasty shit to people. Gemina picks up minutes after the end of Illuminae and I can’t wait to devour this book (by the time this is released I may have read it already *spooky*)

Crooked Kingdom is my life. This is the book I am going to read for my really huge Goodreads event – my 1000th “read” book!! *and the crowd goes wild*

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This is another duology, one that I am desperate for. I took a while to read Six of Crows because I wasn’t the biggest fan of the Grisha trilogy – I only ended up reading the first two books :\ But SoC was beyond epic, the characters were intriguing and different, the story was badass AND IT ENDED ON THE BIGGEST CLIFFHANGER WHICH IS THE WORST THING YOU CAN DO TO A HUMAN BEAN!

The Four Legendary Kingdoms is something I read almost immediately after buying because I couldn’t hold out any longer.

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You can find my review here.

8. Three Dark Crowns | Kendare Blake
9. Vassa in the Night | Sarah Porter
10. Holding Up The Universe | Jennifer Niven

Three Dark Crowns was The YA Chronicles’ September book (as well as Owlcrate’s), so now I have two delicious copies of the book. I didn’t know that Kendare Blake had started another series until I opened up my Owlcrate and it was sitting there winking at me. It was a scream of excitement for the ages. This is a story about three sisters – triplets – that must fight to the death for the position of Queen. Oh, and they are sixteen…

Vassa in the Night is the book I prayed for in Owlcrate’s October box AND I GOT IT! It is a Russian folklore retelling, and I heart me some retellings.

11. Lumberjanes Volume 1 | Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis & Brooke A Allen
12. The First Third | Will Kostakis
13. Bright Smoke, Cold Fire | Rosamund Hodge

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Lumberjanes is by Noelle Stevenson. That’s all I needed to know before I made the snap decision to buy it. I don’t know what it is about apart from 5 kickass ladies doing their thing. I am sure it is going to be perfect.

The First Third is the second book by Kostakis. I have read his most recent novel “The Sidekicks” and adored it with every fibre of my being. A friend told me they liked TFT even more than the The Sidekicks so not buying it wasn’t even an option. The ‘thirds’ are described like this: “Life is made up of three parts: in the first third, you’re embarrassed by your family; in the second, you make a family of your own; and in the end, you just embarrass the family you’ve made.” I can already tell that this book is going to make me laugh and cry so hard.

Rosamund Hodge has easily become one of auto-buy authors. Her books aren’t perfect, but they are always interesting and I never regret reading them. There is always a unique universe that I am diving into and the female characters are always strong but vulnerable, flawed but enviable. She is one of my Queens of Retellings and this latest book is a Romeo and Juliet retelling. With necromancers.

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Top 5 Wednesday | Favourite Spooky Settings

 

 

This week’s theme is SPOOKTACULAR!!

I haven’t necessarily been spooked while reading them, there has just been something kind of eerie about each of these – whether it be the plot, characters or the setting. As you will see, I really fancy books which don’t feel like a particular time or place. So here we go!

5. Crimson Bound | Rosamund Hodge

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“Every day for the last three years, she had thought she deserved to die. She still didn’t want to. She wanted to live with every filthy desperate scrap of her heart.”

It was tough choosing between this book and Cruel Beauty because they are both pretty spooky. I decided on this one because of the lore that Hodge has written into the story.

This book was stunning. I sort of forgot just how wretchedly beautiful it was until I looked into it again. It is set in Durendal – a fictional city with a quite disturbing Great Forest.

Rachelle is our protagonist – Hodge’s interpretation of Little Red Riding Hood – and she is a protector, assassin and guard of the realm. Her main goal throughout the story is to end/stop the Devourer – this dark creature that wants to destroy the world.

The characters are intense and violent. The story is thorny and twisty. There are many dark creatures killing townspeople. It’s just a very spooky village!

4. The Raven Boys | Maggie Stiefvater

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“I guess now would be a good time to tell you,” He said. “I took Chainsaw out of my dreams.”

What makes this book so spooky is that you are never quite sure what is happening. You are kept on your toes. The story is told from many perspectives but you still aren’t 100% sure of people’s motives – you can’t trust everybody. And I love it when fantasy elements are wrapped into real-life situations. It raises the intensity of the story.

3. Her Fearful Symmetry | Audrey Niffenegger

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“There was only the cemetery itself, spread out in the moonlight like a soft grey hallucination, a stony wilderness of Victorian melancholy.”

This is about two sisters who are mirror twins. They are completely identical except that one sister’s organs are on the opposite side of the body, so it’s like looking into the mirror of yourself.

They inherit their Aunt’s flat and it is here that their unusually close relationship starts to crumble. The other inhabitants of the building have their own issues and they start to seep into the sisters’ lives. Mistrust and paranormal activity keep the sisters and the reader on edge. It was an intense and almost stressful book to read.

2. In the Shadow of Blackbirds | Cat Winters

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“We live in a world so horrifying, it frightens even the dead.”

Not only is this one of my favourite books but it is one of saddest and creepiest. It explores one of the great questions: Are ghosts real? Is there an afterlife?

This book is atmospheric. Winters really encapsulates American life in 1918 – it’s close to the end of the war but many people are still dying, especially from the Spanish Influenza. Not only are the supernatural elements strong here, but it is also exploring the social elements of life for a 16 year old girl in this time. There is strength and horror and fear.

1. The Diviners | Libba Bray

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“There is nothing more terrifying than the absoluteness of one who believes he’s right.”

I am ashamed to say that I still haven’t finished reading this! I am currently listening to the audiobook which is either the greatest or worst decision I have ever made. The narrator is spectacular! Her accents and the story she is telling really places the reader in 1920s New York and I feel like I have stepped through time to see this story play out.

There are some pretty graphic murder scenes in this book and one of the creepiest villains ever – he just feels insubstantial and his motive for killing beyond “Because I want to and can” aren’t 100% clear yet. And the fact that he sings while hunting his prey really makes my skin crawl. So even though I am only about 1/4 of the way through the book this is by far one of the creepiest settings for a book that I have come across.

Honourable Mentions

  • Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz

Supernatural Murder Mystery with a side of quirky humour – count me in! There are creepy characters and the setting is atmospheric, but it wasn’t too spooky to me. Dry, hot desert doesn’t really scream “Bump in the night”.

  • The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

This just missed out because the setting falls too much into the realm of surreal rather than spooky. An incredibly beautiful and heartbreaking story though.

 

Book Review: The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

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Title: The Bone Season

Author: Samantha Shannon

Rating: 8.2/10

This book is really difficult to describe so I am just going to leave the Goodreads description here:

The year is 2059. Nineteen-year-old Paige Mahoney is working in the criminal underworld of Scion London, based at Seven Dials, employed by a man named Jaxon Hall. Her job: to scout for information by breaking into people’s minds. For Paige is a dreamwalker, a clairvoyant and, in the world of Scion, she commits treason simply by breathing.
It is raining the day her life changes for ever. Attacked, drugged and kidnapped, Paige is transported to Oxford – a city kept secret for two hundred years, controlled by a powerful, otherworldly race. Paige is assigned to Warden, a Rephaite with mysterious motives. He is her master. Her trainer. Her natural enemy. But if Paige wants to regain her freedom she must allow herself to be nurtured in this prison where she is meant to die.

That is literally as simple as it gets! I also want to say that my rating is more of a reflection of the book’s potential. If it was a stand-alone novel my interpretation would be different and the rating would have been lower.

Let’s start with the main character – Paige Mahoney. This is definitely one of those moments where there is great potential. Paige has a fairly weak personality in the majority of this book, despite being a pretty fierce fighter. I feel like she is easily manipulated, especially by Jaxon – through most of the book you are thinking about how obvious it is that Jaxon is using her and you are confused as to why she would be okay with this sort of treatment. You later find out that she thinks that her power is her only value; her self confidence is non-existent. This is why I am hoping that there is some major character development in the next booksy (WHICH I AM DYING TO READ!)

This has also carried over to the very obvious relationship that builds between Warden and herself. The events of the book occur over 6 months which is a believable time for a relationship to develop, but it seems to occur very quickly after 5.9 months of intense hatred and distrust. In their last moments together she realises that Warden likes her for her and not for her power and then BAM! Ovaries want to get in on that. It’s reactive emotion, not proactive, and that makes me question the emotions guiding her. It reads like she only likes him because he is the only one that has ever liked her. It’s just a little sad and icky to read.

Warden is a character I am excited to learn more about. He spent most of the book as a blank slate. You don’t really know who he is. You don’t know his motivations. You don’t find out much about his background except that he has helped humans in the past. Paige even discovers that there is nothing really going on inside his head (his “dreamspace”). No wonder there is going to be 7 books in this series when so much more needs to be explained.

The universe is really confusing. There seem to be three tiers – the clairvoyants, the humans and the Rephaim. But there are a gazillion different types of clairvoyants. Every time a new one was described the information did not sink in and I prayed that the information wasn’t going to be needed for the future. I am just going to hope that they will always be explained in future references because I don’t have a memory palace to store that info!

Which leads me to the major information dumping that takes place – which I know is necessary when introduced to a new book universe. I found that I became more comfortable with the terminology used the more that I read, but I know that there was a lot that I did not comprehend in those first few chapters and it makes me sad that others may be put off the book because of it.

The idea behind the story is very good. I love the concept of clairvoyants being a reality (and a threat to society) and I think it blends well with the concept of aliens (if that’s what they turn out to be – we still aren’t 100% sure about that one). I love that it is set in England! The cockney slang is hilarious to read and turns the book into a weird dystopian/sci-fi/steampunk/supernatural hybrid that really works.

So yeah… a promising start to what will hopefully be an excellent series.

Top 5 Anticipated Pre-Orders for 2015

SO SO SO SO SO!!! THERE ARE NEW BOOKS COMING OUT OVER THE NEXT 5 MONTHS THAT ARE JUST EVERYTHING AMAZING IN THE WORLD AND I CAN’T EVEN!

Here are my Top 5-ish. I am going to pretend that I can’t count and that will be why there are more than five here. Cough.

Here. WE. GOOO!

On the 1st of September, 2015:

Top5 Queen of Shadows

This is legitimately one of my favourite series at the moment and I can’t wait to read more about Celaena. I feel like I have been waiting for this book for a bajillion years – which is a completely accurate measurement of time.

On the 8th of September, 2015:

Top5 Stand Off

JDGJKFGCVNXMCVIUSYJSKFOAISGJHDFJGFKHGDFGFPSGITUEJFDDVL!! <– This is the only way I am able to express my feelings about this sequel.  Just a tad excited.

On the 6th of October, 2015:

Top5 Carry On

Now I am not the biggest fan of Rowell’s – don’t get me wrong, I love her books and I am excited for this but I am not making inarticulate screeches because of it. I am hoping for a winner here.

On the 20th of October, 2015:

Top5 Career of Evil

Queen Rowling – as Galbraith – is back! I absolutely adore her crime novels and I can’t wait to mentally munch on this.

On the 3rd of November, 2015:

Top5 The Revolution of Ivy

These are my feelings:

On the 10th of November, 2015 we have two releases. TWO!

Top5 November 9

Yes. Yes…ALL THE YES!

Top5 Soundless

A new book by one of my all-time favourite authors? Put me down for 57. Thanks.

Book Review: Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass #3) by Sarah J Maas

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*Post may contain spoilers* – you need to take my advice and just read the series; you would be doing yourselves a favour.

What the series is about:

This badass female character – Calaena Sardothien – is an 18-year old assassin who is “rescued” from a slave camp after a year of doing hard labour and being tortured. I say “rescued” as the son of the King who placed her there in the first place is the one who gets her out so that she can compete to become said King’s champion … the champion does all the King’s dirty work, and no, I don’t mean cleaning his stanky-arse pantaloons.

It’s hard to describe without giving too much away, but Maas masterfully unfolds this world of magic, mystery and action. She builds this character who is incredibly strong, yet broken; she knows she is flawed and has weaknesses but is given the tools to overcome them. And she has a bitchin’ wardrobe. I can not adequately describe how much I love Calaena.

The men:

You can not have a YA story these days without some romance, and some swoon-worthy male characters. Maas does not disappoint. On one hand you have Prince Dorian who saved her from the mines and shares her love of reading – they have companionship. On the other hand you have Captain Westfall who is in charge of the King’s Guard and helps Calaena train so that she can regain the strength and will to win the competition.

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This book:

*definite spoilers – avert thine eyes*

Firstly, you are going to need a third hand because HOT DAMN there is another man that enters the picture. His name is Rowan and you are going to love/hate him. Without going too deeply into the events of previous books, Calaena is sent away to learn more about a specific kind of magic and Rowan is the one that gets to decide when she can learn more. Rowan becomes a much needed friend to Calaena and you are going to love how their story unfolds.

I found myself getting very annoyed by Calaena during the the first half of this book – she is a deep, depressing spiral as she can’t stop blaming herself for the death’s of certain people. The guilt almost suffocates her. The more you read, the more you realise she needs to hit rock bottom so that she can then use that strength to become a better, stronger person.

When a book is in mid-series I am always concerned that the author will use it as a stepping stone for the last couple of books instead of making it a book in its own right. I thought this was happening at first: a lot of events were taking place that seemed very preparatory, but there are underlying events that take place which allow this one to stand on its own (PRAISE THE LORDE!)

What I really love about her series is that each book shows you a little more of the universe, so you aren’t flooded by all this information about a fantasy universe in the first book. You are slowly introduced to places and characters that have different levels of importance and it keeps you on your toes. You just never know what is going to happen.

Another beautifully-written book by Maas. I am so thankful that this is an author I started reading.

Rating: 5/5